After a month of April that saw the Syracuse Orange softball team go 7-9 overall and 4-8 in ACC play, they sit at 21-28 overall and 8-13 in the league. With just three games to go, that means they’ll make the ACC Tournament, however, the opponent they’ll face once there remains in question.
Syracuse closes out the regular season at home this weekend with a three-game series against No. 5 Florida State. That poses a distinct challenge, sure. But assuming all possibilities are on the table, here’s how things could shake out for the team given the various results:
Sweep Florida State, 3-0
It’s an unlikely outcome, but one that needs to be considered just the same. A 3-0 sweep would move the Orange to 11-13 in league play, which could put them eighth in the league standings. SU lost the season series to the two teams they could tie with (Duke and Georgia Tech) and both already have 11 wins, so Syracuse drops the tiebreaker to both.
Earning the 8-seed means a first round matchup against the 9-seed, which could be either Virginia (8-16 in league play) or NC State (currently 6-15). SU didn’t face the Hoos this year, but took two of three at the Pack back in early April. Winning that matchup in round one (next Wednesday) would set up a game against top-seeded Virginia Tech on Thursday.
Video highlights from today's shutout victory against Cornell! pic.twitter.com/cmXpROyqGr— Syracuse Softball (@CuseSB) May 2, 2019
Beat Florida State, 2-1
Winning two games puts Syracuse at 10-14, which also earns the an 8-seed since they’d be clear of the only other teams in that win range (UVA and NC State). So, same as above, the Orange could face either team seeded ninth in round one.
Lose to Florida State, 2-1
Dropping two of three to FSU means Syracuse is 9-15 in league play, which keeps them in the 8-seed by way of tiebreaker with NC State or just overall wins depending on what the Pack do this weekend. Same as above, they’ll face either the Hoos or NCSU in round one.
Lose to Florida State, 3-0
That puts Syracuse at 8-16 and at best tied with UVA for eighth. If NC State sweeps Louisville, they’d take the 8-seed by way of a better conference record (9-15). Winning two creates a three way tiebreak at 8-16. NC State going 1-2 means they’re at 7-17 and that opens up a chance for Boston College or Pitt if either sweeps the other this weekend. BC has already swept NCSU, so the two teams finishing tied would give the Eagles the 10th seed and leave the Pack out.
There are a couple tiebreakers above to sort out. If Syracuse and Virginia wind up with the same record, they’ll go down the standings starting from first to see who gains an advantage. SU didn’t face Virginia Tech this year, and both teams would’ve been swept by FSU. However, the Orange took two of three vs. Notre Dame, while the Irish swept the Hoos, so Syracuse takes any tiebreaker with them.
In the case of a three-way tie between Syracuse, Virginia and NC State, both SU and UVA own better records against the group that State, so the Pack are removed from the tiebreaker and we revert to the situation above which gives it to the Orange.
So Syracuse can’t fall further than ninth, but is most likely eighth. They’d need to win the entire ACC Tournament to make the NCAAs — a tall order. But until they lose, there’s a chance. The Orange have yet to win an ACC Tournament game since joining the league. They’re 0-4, missing the field the other time. Syracuse also hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2012, when they eliminated Long Beach State, but fell to Arizona State in the regional round.